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Not Enough


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About the Author

Samuel Moyn is Professor of Law and Professor of History at Yale University. His interests range widely over international law, human rights, the laws of war, and legal thought in both historical and contemporary perspective. He has published several books and writes in venues such as Boston Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, Dissent, The Nation, New Republic, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal.


No one has done more than Samuel Moyn to unsettle the story of human rights as a triumphal march of upgrades from Magna Carta to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...Not Enough asks us to rethink what human rights might accomplish if they were deployed not simply to set limits on state power, but to harness that power for the purpose of fostering economic equality.--Benjamin Nathans"New York Review of Books" (12/05/2019)
Not Enough makes it impossible to conceive of the current status of human rights in the same way again...[It] leads the critical and ethical heart to beat much faster.--Mark Goodale"Boston Review" (07/19/2018)
[S]peaks to the urgency of our contemporary politics... In Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World, Moyn suggests that our current vocabularies of global justice--above all our belief in the emancipatory potential of human rights--need to be discarded if we are work to make our vastly unequal world more equal... Best read as a companion history to Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Not Enough explains how--across the fields of development, moral advocacy, philosophy, and governmental policy--the ideal of sufficiency gradually supplanted what was once an ideal of equality for all... The apparent paradox exposed in Not Enough is what makes the book another tour de force what are we to make of the fact that our age of human rights was coterminous with the age of neoliberalism? ...Moyn implores us to consider: what is the value content of justice in our age of human rights, and how do we try to rectify inequality, if the social and economic rights enumerated in international human rights law put no ceiling on wealth creation?--Patrick William Kelly"Los Angeles Review of Books" (06/07/2018)
No one has written with more penetrating skepticism about the history of human rights than Samuel Moyn...In Not Enough, Moyn asks whether human-rights theorists and advocates, in the quest to make the world better for all, have actually helped to make things worse...This book, like the author's last, is the rare academic study that is sure to provoke a wider discussion about important political and economic questions.--Adam Kirsch"Wall Street Journal" (04/19/2018)
A brilliantly conceived and much-needed book on human rights and inequality. Moyn has a genius for writing history that is intelligent, surprising, and disciplined by fine judgment.--Jedediah Purdy, author of After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene
Human rights do not seem to be enough in our era of unshared affluence. Samuel Moyn's fascinating and highly timely book explores how we ended up here despite the higher hopes for humanity pursued by multiple political and philosophical movements over the last two hundred years. This is essential reading for anybody who wants to understand the present age with its overwhelming challenges and breathtaking possibilities.--Mathias Risse, author of On Global Justice

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